This article was written regarding work conducted under legacy company names: Continental Mapping, GISinc, or TSG Solutions. These three companies merged in January 2021 to form a new geospatial leader Axim Geospatial.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike stretches over 550 miles throughout the state as a main thoroughfare of travel crucial to keeping people and commerce moving. Drivers record over 17 million miles per day on the turnpike from the state’s eastern border with New Jersey to the western border with Ohio, and along its Northeastern and Western extensions. Over 45,000 signs provide drivers with various information from navigating the tunnels and toll plazas to where to stop for gas.
The significant task of maintaining, updating, replacing, and cataloging these signs is the job of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC). Knowing where signs are, what they say, and their condition was long done by the PTC recording the information with a pen and paper. This antiquated asset inventory system was due for an upgrade.
In an effort to digitize the PTC’s sign inventory system, Axim Geospatial was tasked to capture and catalog sign locations and attributes including type, wording, condition, and retro-reflectivity. Providing network-wide collection and asset extraction is a core competency of Axim, and utilizing the sensors, workflows, and experience from many similar asset inventory projects gave the PTC an excellent partner to complete the job.
High resolution 360° spherical imagery
To acquire the data, Axim deployed its two asset-grade mobile lidar units to drive the full length of the Turnpike in both directions and along interchange ramps. Crews drove the sensors over 1,200 lane miles to collect both lidar data and geo-tagged 360-degree spherical imagery at an 8-meter interval. Though the Turnpike can stretch six lanes wide, Axim’s lidar and imagery sensors captured sufficient detail driving in only one lane in each direction. Coordination with the PTC regarding fleet collection schedules was imperative, as construction and road closures were a major consideration. Access gate keys were provided to Axim, and the PTC was notified any time they were used.
From this considerable mobile lidar data set, Axim extracted an asset inventory of approximately 45,500 signs and all required attributes. The PTC received snapshots of each sign, captured from full-resolution imagery from six 5-megapixel cameras. Also delivered was a custom .csv spreadsheet containing asset attributes which were required to be compatible with the PTC’s asset management software – Agile Assets. This data was imported into Agile Assets with the focus on planning, cataloging, and maintaining the signs throughout their lifecycle. The asset inventory also provides efficiencies for upkeep and to eliminate redundancies, as well as offers a centralized data repository and management system for future use.
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